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What Are the Necessary Parts of an Invoice?

A brief description of each item, along with the total number of units received is typically listed on an invoice.
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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2014
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An invoice requires several parts in order to be accurate and professional. First of all, the word "invoice" should be placed in large print at the top, center portion of the paper.

Below this and to the left, the name and contact information of the company or individual being billed should be listed. This includes the mailing address if the invoice is to be mailed. If the document is created for freelance work, however, a postal address may not be necessary or even known. In this case, the email address or other pertinent contact information should be listed.

Below the name and contact information for the individual or company being billed, the invoice should include the name and contact information of the business doing the billing. This ensures that the client or customer has the information necessary to send payment. Once again, if the work is completed as freelance work and payment will be handled online, the online payment information should be included in this portion.

The invoice should also contain information explaining what the bill is for. If it is for products, for example, it should include a list of the items the customer has purchased. If the invoice is for services, the document should list the services that have been rendered and under what conditions.

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If the services were for a project and the payment amount was a flat fee agreed upon beforehand, this should be listed on the invoice. If, on the other hand, the arrangement was a hourly fee, the number of hours billed should be included. It may also be beneficial to indicate the dates on which services were rendered. At the bottom, the total amount owed for the services or products should be listed. This portion should be clearly marked as the total amount due in order to avoid confusion.

In order to help keep track of invoices and to help the client or customer keep track of what he or she has paid, the document should also have a number. This number should be in the upper right hand corner. The date the invoice was sent should also be included near this number.

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Discuss this Article

kylee07drg
Post 7

I do most of my freelance work online, so I offer online invoices to my clients. I make them into a PDF and email them. Since just about anyone with a computer can open a PDF, this is convenient and quick.

If I have been in touch with the client through email only, I don’t provide a phone number or physical address. I tell them to email me with questions.

I work for a flat rate, and I include the price agreed upon as well as the date it was agreed upon in the invoice. I describe the work in detail, even though the rate is the same no matter the method.

So far, all of my clients have been happy to receive emailed invoices. They don’t have to wait for them to arrive in the mail, and the quicker they receive them, the quicker I get paid, which makes me happy, too.

StarJo
Post 6

Working in a newspaper office, I often had to scan invoices for the advertising representatives to email to their clients. I noticed that they provided a good amount of detail to avoid questions or complaints.

If someone ran a line ad in the classifieds, then a portion of that ad would be reprinted on the invoice. If it could fit in three inches, they included it. Also, the same section listed the exact number of words in the ad, since the charge for classified ads is per word.

The total price always appeared in bold text in the bottom right corner. A physical address, telephone number, contact person, and email address were always provided. With a detailed invoice, it is harder for a customer to argue over the price.

Oceana
Post 4

I always include plenty of information on my invoices. I work as a freelance graphic designer and painter, and I make sure to provide detailed information to all my clients.

Besides including my address and theirs, I always denote the service they purchased in great detail. Instead of just typing “painting,” I type “12x15 acrylic painting of dog on staple-free canvas.” Under the section where I post my hours, I do it to the minute. If a project took me 14 hours and 15 minutes to complete, I will list this, along with the price per hour and total cost.

ElizaBennett
Post 3

@George - I think the article is mostly aimed at people who are preparing invoices. It's like anything else; some people don't follow the "rules." The word "invoice" can be printed anywhere and there is not always an invoice number.

To answer your question, should you pay, the real question is, do you owe this person or company money? If so, then pay it!

Ideally, of course, everyone will use a professional invoice template, but that's not always the case.

anon56879
Post 2

I received a few "invoices" but they didn't have invoice numbers on it. Should I pay them ?

Also the "invoice" word is on the left hand side of the paper and under the company name. Is it a legitimate invoice? --George

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